ShoreRivers Hosts 15th Annual Ride for Clean Rivers

On Sunday, September 15, ShoreRivers will host the 15th Annual Ride for Clean Rivers. Ride the beautiful back roads of Talbot and Queen Anne’s Counties in support of ShoreRivers’ work for clean waterways. This is a great way to bring summer to a close surrounded by friends, family, and fellow community members. Register at shorerivers.org/events before September 9 to guarantee an event tee-shirt! Riders are also encouraged to join teams and create their own fundraising pages to boost support for their participation from others.

Cyclers of all ages and levels are welcome to register for 20-mile, 35-mile, or 62-mile (metric century) routes. All routes begin and end at Chesapeake College and include SAG support and rest stops with food and drink. The metric ride will kickoff at 8:00 am and the 35-mile and 20-mile send-off will follow at 10:00 am. Upon returning to the college campus, riders and volunteers will enjoy a BBQ lunch and live music by “Fog After Midnight.”

Cyclists line up at the Ride for Clean Rivers start line.

ShoreRivers looks forward to continued support from the community for this year’s event. Whether enjoying a Sunday bike ride, riding with friends, or promoting a business, this event is about coming together. It is not too late to create a team or sign up to join ShoreRivers in support of cleaner, healthier rivers.

Thank you to ShoreRivers Marquee SponsorDock Street Foundation, as well as Agency of Record, Bay Imprint, Bike Doctor, Blessings Environmental Concepts, The Brewer’s Art, Chesapeake 4-H Club, Chesapeake College, Easton Family YMCA, Ecotone Ecological Restoration, ThinkMakeBuild,and S.E.W. Friel.

All proceeds go toward ShoreRivers’ science-based education, restoration, and water quality monitoring programs. For more information, please contact Rebekah Hock at rhock@shorerivers.org or 443.385.0511 extension 206.

ShoreRivers will also host the Run for Clean Rivers in Chestertown during Sultana Downrigging. Participants may walk or run a 5K or 10-mile course to support ShoreRivers. The event will be held on Saturday, November 2 from 9am-12pm at Wilmer Park in Chestertown, MD. Register online at shorerivers.org/events or on the day of the race.

5K Run/Walk: $35 before October 26

10-Miler: $60 before October 26

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising and independent voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

shorerivers.org

Visitor Spending at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Boosts Local Economy

A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service examined the economic impact of 162 national wildlife refuges to their local economies, including Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  Blackwater NWR had an economic impact of $7.8 million, including $667,000 in total tax revenue, 63 jobs, and $2.3 million in employment income to Dorchester and Wicomico counties.  Visitor expenditures for 2017 were $5.8 million, with non-residents accounting for 95% of the total.

Nationwide, 53.6 million people visited national wildlife refuges in 2017, with an economic impact of $3.2 billion on local communities and supporting more than 41,000 jobs.  The figures come from a new economic report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service titled Banking on Nature 2017: The Economic Contributions of National Wildlife Refuge Recreational Visitation to Local CommunitiesThe report is the sixth in a series of studies since 1997 that measure the economic contributions of national wildlife refuge recreational visits to local economies.

“Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge is a local and national treasure for visitors from next door to across the country.  Our 223,000 annual visitors enjoy activities such as wildlife watching year round, deer hunting September through January, and spectacular waterfowl photography in the winter,” said Marcia Pradines, the Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex Project Leader. “But the impacts go beyond the easy to measure economic outputs.  For instance, all of the county’s fourth and sixth graders participate in environmental education activities, and the habitats provide valuable ecological services such as flood buffers, and nurseries for fish.”

National wildlife refuges generate many individual and societal benefits, including fish and wildlife conservation, open space, science and education, water quality improvement and flood resilience. The thriving fish and wildlife populations of the Refuge System also attract millions of recreational users. Some visitors take part in heritage sports, such as hunting and fishing, where those activities are compatible with refuge management goals and other recreational activities. Others enjoy hiking, paddling, wildlife viewing or nature photography.

Wildlife-related recreation fuels the economy throughout the nation. The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years by the Service, informs the Banking on Nature report. The most recent survey found that more than 103 million Americans, or 40 percent of the United States population age 16 and older, pursued wildlife-related outdoor recreation in 2016 and spent nearly $156.9 billion.

The Banking on Nature study also found:

– National wildlife refuges are seen widely as travel-worthy destinations: 83 percent of refuge spending was done by visitors from outside the local area — an increase of 9 percent from the 2011 study. At Blackwater NWR, 95% is from non-residents.

– More than 41,000 jobs (up 18 percent from 2011) and $1.1 billion in employment income (up 22 percent) were generated.

– The combined economic contribution to communities nationwide is more than six times the $483.9 million appropriated by Congress to the Refuge System in FY 2017.

The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 567 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts in all 50 states and five U.S. territories. Blackwater NWR is within a two hour’s drive of both Washington D.C. and Baltimore, MD. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitats for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education.

For more details and a full listing of each refuge’s economic impact, read the Banking on Nature report and explore the visual data online.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or follow us on Facebook @BlackwaterNWR.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Seeks Volunteers

Do you enjoy meeting people from all over the world?  Do you enjoy the outdoors?  Do you want to give back to your community and help others enjoy the natural resources that our area has to offer?  If so, consider volunteering at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).  Volunteers are needed to assist with a variety of programs, including staffing the information desk in the Visitor Center, leading interpretive and educational programs, maintaining the Beneficial Insect and Butterfly Garden, posting boundaries, mentoring new hunters, and much more.

A volunteer workshop will be held at the Blackwater NWR Visitor Center on Saturday, August 10th from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. to update new and seasoned volunteers on current refuge activities.  Learn how to read the landscape from a climate change perspective, and hear about the latest projects with the biological and visitor services programs.  This training session is open to current volunteers as well as any member of the public interested in becoming a refuge volunteer.

Volunteers play a critical role in helping the refuge fulfill its mission.  Over 180,000 visitors from all over the world visit Blackwater NWR each year to photograph wildlife, hike trails, paddle waterways, and enjoy the scenic landscapes.  Established in 1933 as a refuge for migratory birds, the refuge has one of the highest concentrations of nesting bald eagles on the Atlantic coast, and the largest protected population of Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrels.  With over 29,000 acres of tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and several hundred acres of cropland, Blackwater NWR supports a diversity of wildlife.

To learn more about the volunteer program at Blackwater NWR or to register for this volunteer workshop, please contact Michele Whitbeck at 410-221-8157 or Michele_Whitbeck@fws.gov.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, protects over 29,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife.  To learn more, visit our website at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater or @BlackwaterNWR.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

191 Acres of Farmland Conserved in Kent County

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is excited to announce closing on a new conservation easement in Kent County. The easement, completed in conjunction with the U.S. Army and the Maryland Environmental Trust (MET), protects an additional 191.668 acres of agricultural land with scenic value along MD-297 (Worton Road).

The grantors, Ed and Marian Fry, have now protected more than 750 acres of agricultural land via three conservation easements for their family-owned and operated Fair Hill Farm, an innovative dairy operation. When asked about their experience protecting their farm, Marian stated “we are so pleased to work with the Trust and the Conservancy to protect our farm, and delighted that these two organizations are working together to protect land in Kent County”.

This easement is number 296 for ESLC, which is on track to close its 300th by the end of the calendar year.

Ed and Marian’s dedication to preserving and enhancing farmland, as well as to innovative, sustainable farm practices, is a prime example of conservation at work on the Eastern Shore. Eastern Shore Land Conservancy would like to thank the U.S. Army’s Compatible Use Buffer Program, which provided financial support for the completion of this project.

The Nature Conservancy to Release Report on the Deployment of New Solar Energy

The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and DC today announced that it will release a new series of analyses on the deployment of new solar energy infrastructure in Maryland to help lawmakers and the public make socially and environmentally sound decisions on ideal locations for solar development.  The first of those reports was released today, which synthesizes stakeholder feedback from a series of community meetings focused on solar energy in Maryland’s future that The Nature Conservancy held across the state in 2018.

Following the recent passage of the 2019 Clean Energy Jobs Act by the Maryland state legislature, Maryland has a new goal of achieving 50% from renewable energy by 2030 with a significant focus on solar energy.  With that higher goal now in place, the timeline for making decisions on where to construct new solar infrastructure is accelerating as well.

“Maryland’s Clean Energy Jobs Act is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our state to secure clean air, green jobs, and sustainable energy for the future, but it’s critical that we make informed decisions about the best places for new solar infrastructure,” said Tim Purinton, Director of The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and DC.  “Unfettered development in the wrong places could cause permanent damage to Maryland’s natural resources, so it’s vital that we bring the best available science and land management experience to the decision-making process.”

“Largescale solar expansion is crucial to meeting the state’s clean energy goals and driving down emissions required under the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act,” said Maryland Senator Paul Pinsky. “We have to be aggressive and thoughtful in plotting locations for expanding solar and other clean energy. Protecting the planet from climate change while protecting our natural resources should direct our efforts.”

The planned analyses are intended to accelerate deployment in the “right places,” which are usually marginal and low-conflict lands where the construction of new solar infrastructure will benefit people, nature, and the economy, rather than negatively impact them.

Following conversations with partners and stakeholders studying solar development in Maryland, The Nature Conservancy set out to talk to as many people as possible with a role or active interest in renewable energy development to better understand the existing problems and help identify a better path forward.  Listening sessions were convened across the state – in Frederick, Annapolis, and Salisbury – at unique locations with the assistance of a professional facilitator.  The results of those listening sessions have been summarized in the first report, which includes three key takeaways.

• A shared focus on developing renewable energy in marginal and low-conflict lands will allow Marylanders to take advantage of the many benefits of renewable energy while avoiding potential negative impacts.

• Significant hurdles currently prohibit or disincentivize renewable energy development in desired locations (i.e., low-conflict lands), but these hurdles provide opportunities to revise or create incentives and development drivers focused towards these types of lands.

• State and local governments play a critical role in assuring success and fostering continued innovation. Working to coalesce around a common goal of increasing renewable energy development focused on marginal and low-conflict lands will get the best outcome for the State.

“Identifying the areas where we can maximize the benefit of renewable energy is just the beginning for solar deployment,” said Josh Kurtz, policy director for The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and DC. “We now have a much better idea of where we’ll find potential areas for deployment that protect forests and healthy farm soils while maximizing benefits for the State and individual landowners. For the next steps, the leadership of state and local governments and private utilities will be critical as Maryland looks for opportunities to streamline the deployment process and get these new solar projects on the grid.”

These findings and others will be presented by The Nature Conservancy on a panel with Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles and Senator Paul G. Pinsky at the Maryland Clean Energy Center in October 22, 2019.

The Nature Conservancy will also be conducting a mapping exercise to identify and evaluate marginal land areas all across the state as potential sites for development.  This will result in a compilation of areas and locations that contain the most elements for success and a better understand of how much real potential there is for widespread solar development in Maryland.  The data will be made publicly accessible online.

The spatial analysis and data portal are scheduled to go live later this year.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners.  Learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work in Washington DC and Maryland at nature.org/maryland and follow us @Nature_DCMDVA on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Climate Change and the Eastern Shore: Talbot Rising Presents “Before the Flood” July 22

Nothing is more precious than the earth we call home. Yet few of us fully grasp the extent of the climate challenges we face globally and locally.

Talbot Rising will host at the Talbot County Public Library 5:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, July 22, a showing of the award-winning Scorsese documentary “Before the Flood” narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

The Los Angeles Times called the film “neither dull screed nor stat-heavy pamphlet, thanks largely to the questing intensity of its marquee guide.”

Mary Helen Gillen of Pickering Creek Audubon will walk us through how each of us can personally help mitigate what we are facing and start to build a local wave of commitment. This event will highlight not just our climate challenges but also offer a hopeful path toward meeting them.

 “This documentary is our wake-up call,” said Grace Soltis of Talbot Rising. “If we heed the science, and take decisive action now, we have the means to address climate change starting with personal action, then building community resolve to support climate solutions. Together we can do great things.” 

For more information, contact: Ridgely Ochs, Talbot Rising, 631-871-2172

 

ShoreRivers Seeks Development & Events Coordinator

ShoreRivers seeks a Development & Events Coordinator to join our team and help fulfill our mission to protect and restore Maryland’s Eastern Shore waterways. The position manages all ShoreRivers events and assists with development and communications activities. The ideal candidate will be an energetic, outwardly social self-starter who is organized, detail-oriented, and enthusiastic about the environment and the communities we serve.

The position reports to the Director of Development and works primarily out of Easton, MDat the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, with frequent work out of our Chestertown and Galena offices. This is a full-time position; the employee must be flexible to work weekends, evenings, and longer hours, and to travel when necessary. The employee must be willing to live in the communities we serve. Salary is commensurate with experience; competitive benefits package included.

To apply, send cover letter and resume to Rebekah Hock, Director of Development, at rhock@shorerivers.org

RESPONSIBILITIES

Events (50%) – manage ShoreRivers’ more than 15 annual fundraising and outreach events, including staff and board coordination, event logistics and budget, volunteer coordination, partner liaison, vendor coordination, and event promotion.

Development (25%) – assist the Director of Development in implementing ShoreRivers’ annual fundraising strategy, including coordinating with the Governing Board, Advisory Boards, and Development Committee, working with our membership database, conducting grant research, and coordinating events and stewardship activities.

Communications (25%) – assist with planning and logistics for our suite of communications, including print, web, social media, press, annual appeal, and branded merchandise.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS AND QUALIFICATIONS

• A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and 2+ years’ work experience in a relevant field of event coordination and/or development.
• Belief in our mission to achieve clean local waters.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite.
• Experience with donor database; Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge preferred.
• Experience with managing budgets preferred.
• Experience with managing volunteers preferred.

SHORERIVERS

ShoreRivers seeks to protect and restore Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education. We work collaboratively with our community yet maintain an uncompromising voice for clean rivers and the living resources they support.

We have a dedicated staff of educators, scientists, restoration specialists, and advocates focused on policies and projects that will improve the health of our rivers. Our staff includes four Waterkeepers who regularly patrol and monitor our waters and serve as key spokespersons. Our staff also includes a team of environmental educators and a team of agricultural restoration specialists.

Read more about ShoreRivers at shorerivers.org.

Phillips Wharf Celebrates 9th Oyster Planting Day

On Saturday, June 1st Phillips Wharf Environmental Center celebrated its 9th Oyster Planting Day.  Staff and volunteers collected oyster growing cages from participating residents in the Bay Hundred area and planted the oysters in the Harris Creek Oyster Sanctuary to aid in oyster restoration efforts. Phillips Wharf, located in Tilghman, Maryland hosts the Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters Program or TIGO for short, which is a part of the Marylanders Grow Oysters Program (MGO).

Oyster Planting Day was well attended with 57 volunteers consisting of youth programs from The National Aquarium and Digital Harbor High School as well as staff and members of Phillips Wharf.  Together they collected, organized and prepared the oysters for their final destination in Harris Creek. This year an estimated 478 cages were collected allowing 73 bushels of oysters to be planted.

As part of the TIGO program, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is actively looking for residents with waterfront properties to host oyster growing cages for an 8-month period. This allows the spat to grow in a protected environment before they are released on Rabbit Point in early June. The oysters require minimal care for participants as they are suspended below docks in small cages. Anyone interested in hosting cages or participating in the Tilghman Islanders Grow Oysters program is encouraged to call Phillips Wharf at (410) 886-9200 or email oysters@phillipswharf.org.

Phillips Wharf Environmental Center is located in Tilghman Island, Maryland and looks to provide education and aquaculture training programs to excite, educate and engage generations of stewards through interactive experiences showcasing the Chesapeake Bay and its inhabitants. Phillips Wharf is funded through public support, education programs and sales from its aquaculture business Fisherman’s Daughter Oysters. Guests are encouraged to visit the campus located just over the Knapps Narrows Bridge in beautiful Tilghman Island or visit www.phillipswharf.org.

ShoreRivers Announces Tour the Shore Public Paddle Series

Tour the Shore paddlers explore Cambridge Creek. Photo credit: George Norberg

ShoreRivers’ Tour the Shore summer kayak series begins this month, with a monthly paddle on one of four rivers through September. Tour the Shore gives novice and experienced paddlers alike an opportunity to explore creeks and rivers with small groups led by ShoreRivers’ experienced, certified staff. Paddle routes are chosen to highlight the Eastern Shore’s most scenic riverscapes and natural features, including great blue heron roosts, underwater grasses, and flooded forests.

Director of Education and Outreach Suzanne Sullivan, describes how the paddles serve ShoreRivers’ vision of health waterways across the Eastern Shore.“The Tour the Shore paddle series provides an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to get to know our rivers intimately. The more that individuals connect with a waterway and experience its value firsthand, the more they are going to want to protect that natural resource.”

Paddlers may bring their own kayaks or rent ShoreRivers’ kayaks. Space is limited. Contact Suzanne at 443-385-0511 or ssullivan@shorerivers.org to reserve seats. Tours are $20 for ShoreRivers members, $30 for non-members; kayak rentals are an additional $30. Bring your lunch!

2019 Tour the Shore Dates and Locations

Friday, July 12, 10am to 1pm– Robbins Creek (Choptank River)
Departs from Two Johns Landing in Preston. This paddle helps beat the heat as it meanders alongside the forested Lynch Preserve, property that was donated to Eastern Shore Land Conservancy.  Paddlers might just flush some wood ducks!

Friday, August 23, 10am to 2pm – Wye Island (Wye River)
Join the Miles-Wye Riverkeeper for a paddle that explores the peaceful coves around Wye Island Natural Resource Management Area. With over 85% of the island managed by Maryland State Park Service, this paddle-plus-hike showcases old growth trees and brightly colored song bird species.

Thursday, September 13, 10am to 1pm – Turner’s Creek (Sassafras River)
Join the Sassafras Riverkeeper for a paddle on Turner’s Creek in Kennedyville. Explore the famous tidal pond, see the magnificent lotus blooms, and witness one of the last working waterfronts on the river; a quintessential day on the Sassafras!

Friday, September 27, 10am to 1pm – Chester River
Late September is prime paddle time as the air cools and marshes and forest edges change colors on the upper Chester. For the final paddle of the season, kayakers will be joined by the Chester Riverkeeper, launching from Shadding Reach Landing in Crumpton, and exploring the narrow upper reaches of the Chester.

ShoreRivers protects and restores Eastern Shore waterways through science-based advocacy, restoration, and education.

shorerivers.org

Smokestack Repair Begins at Last Remaining Phillips Packing Co. Factory

On Monday, June 24, Structural Preservation Systems began long-awaited renovations to the two street-facing smokestacks of the former Phillips Packing Company’s ‘Factory F’ – the most visible reminder of the canning operation that once employed thousands in Cambridge. Soon to be known as The Packing House, this 60,000 square foot warehouse has sat vacant and deteriorating for decades.

A revitalization project spearheaded by Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) and Baltimore’s Cross Street Partners, The Packing House will become an active, mixed use facility for office and food related innovation. The revitalization project aims to support and grow regional economic opportunities connected to agriculture, aquaculture, environmental technologies, and tourism – all of which make up the leading industries of the Eastern Shore.

“We are elated to share the start of the smokestack restoration,” shares ESLC’s Katie Parks. “Through funding support from the Department of Housing and Community Development, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Cross Street Partners, and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, the long-awaited restoration ensures that this historic viewshed will be preserved.”

The repair and stabilization of the iconic 90’ smokestacks, scheduled to take approximately 80 days to complete, is “Phase 1” of the renovation project. Due to the fragile condition of the smokestacks, the project’s development team selected Structural Preservation Systems to complete the restoration – a firm recognized as the industry leader in developing innovative repair solutions for historical structures and the most challenging problems.

To remain up to date with the progress of The Packing House revitalization project, or for more information about the Phillips Packing Company and its historical significance within the Cambridge community, please visit thepackinghousecambridge.com.

NOTE:  Due to safety concerns please stay outside of the marked area. There will be a future press conference scheduled. In the meantime, do not hesitate to send any questions to the contacts above.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them. More at www.eslc.org.

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